Spotted: Google’s position in the search engine market is formidable – currently standing at 86 per cent according to Statista. Its closest rival, Bing, accounts for just seven per cent of the market. Numerous purpose-driven challengers have attempted to break into the search engine space. Some, such as DuckDuckGo, make user privacy a key selling point, while others like Ecosia use revenues from adverts to support social causes.
Neeva, which was founded by ex-Google employees and launched last year, is exploring a new business model altogether. Unlike other Google alternatives, Neeva is completely ad-free. It also includes user-friendly features such as the ability to sync internet search with personal emails, calendars, documents, and slack conversations. This allows users to search for all the information they need—both private and from the web—in one single search bar. Users can also customise their search results by highlighting brands they like, and news sources they trust.
One particularly interesting feature of Neeva for privacy-minded users is its browser extension that blocks web trackers – pieces of code embedded in web pages that collect data about user habits. The blocked trackers are highlighted to the user in a ‘hall of shame’.
For all Neeva’s benefits, going ad-free is not free. The search engine recently unveiled plans to employ a ‘freemium’ model, introducing a subscription fee for a premium service. A free tier will continue to be available to users – and this will also be ad-free in keeping with the company’s founding principles. However, monthly limits on usage will apply to the basic tier, and some of Neeva’s features, such as integration with Slack will be restricted.
The Neeva Premium subscription will cost $5 (€ 4.42 ) per month. Additional features are still undetermined but are likely to include a VPN service and a password manager according to Fast Company.
Written By: Katrina Lane